ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Just before they headed to the White House this morning for a bipartisan, bicameral meeting to discuss President Obama’s upcoming speech today detailing his fiscal policy vision, the top House Republican leadership criticized the president for making a “budget do-over” and reneging on their agreement to extend the Bush-era tax cuts through 2012.
House Speaker John Boehner dismissed the notion that raising taxes on the rich would help address the nation’s debt crisis and suggested doing so would actually harm the recovery of the economy.
“I have been pushing the president for months to engage in this discussion about our long-term fiscal plan. I’m glad that he’s finally decided to engage in it,” Boehner, R-Ohio,said. “But there’s been a lot of discussion about the need to raise taxes. And I’ll just say this: we can’t tax the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to create jobs. Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”
President Obama is set to deliver his speech this afternoon at 1:35 P.M. at George Washington University and is expected to call for a tax increase on the nation’s wealthiest earners, keeping domestic spending low, cutting the Pentagon budget, and finding health care savings in Medicare and Medicaid.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the move was “vintage Obama.”
“He’s been standing on the sidelines expecting the rest of us to make the tough decisions to lead this country,” Cantor, R-Va., said. “I hope we don’t have a re-do and a do-over on the tax agreement that we came to last December. Again, this was an issue that was litigated in the election last fall, and as we approach tax day in a few days in this country it is just foreign to most people that we’re going to address our problems by raising taxes on the very people we expect to jump back into the game to create jobs, and those are our small business people.”
Republicans are calling the president’s speech the “budget do-over speech.”
“Let’s remember that this speech is coming a full two months after the president’s original budget proposal and speech to the nation in the State of the Union,” Cantor recalled.
Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling also criticized it as a campaign stump speech for the president’s budding reelection campaign.
“This weekend, it was not previewed by the secretary of the Treasury, it was not previewed by the director of [Office of Management and Budget], instead it was previewed by his campaign manager,” Hensarling, R-Texas, said. “Many of us approach this speech with perhaps high hopes and low expectations. We have an open mind if the president will do something to help put us on the path of prosperity, we would be most appreciative.”
The House is set to vote on its own plan to address the debt in House Budget chairman Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” 2012 budget resolution on Friday.
Boehner said “it’s time for America to develop a plan to save for the next generation” and expressed his belief that Ryan’s budget plan would accomplish that goal.
“The American people know that we can’t continue to spend money that we don’t have,” Boehner said. “The American people also understand that this hurts our economy and hurts job creation in our country. That’s why Paul Ryan came forward as chairman of our budget committee to bring a budget and a path to prosperity that will not only balance the budget but will pay off our debt.”